Q: I want to start an insect farming business, how do I go about it?
A: We have received this question from individuals all over the world, on every continent except Antarctica (so far!). The products and knowledge base we are currently developing will help provide answers to the technical side of the question, but there are many details that will vary by country and our current experience is limited to the United States. We hope that anyone on this forum with experience or knowledge about the following points will contribute!
Site Selection - you will need a suitable space to start your farm. Depending on your scale this could be a spare room in your house, a garden shed, a shipping container, or a warehouse. Site selection will have to depend both on your desired scale of operation and local regulations as discussed next.
Regulations - you will need to check with your local authorities regarding compliance with any permitting requirements for (a) operating a business (b) raising livestock in general (c) raising insects specifically - since some species are considered agricultural pests there may be special regulations around their cultivation. In the United States you will have to comply with permitting and licensing requirements dependent on your state, county and city in addition to general USDA and FDA guidelines for livestock rearing and processing. As we move forward, we will be posting more information on relevant guidelines for insect farming here in the US, and we look forward to learning more about and sharing regulatory requirements and issues in other countries.
Identify Market - depending on your scale and location, you will have different market opportunities. For examples, a large scale operation in an agrarian area may have excellent opportunities to serve as a feed provider for local farms, and would have a ready market for the high quality organic fertilizer produced as a byproduct of the insects. Alternatively a smaller urban operation may have more opportunity to market directly to chefs/restaurants and local pet food stores.
Regarding necessary resources and investment to get started - it depends entirely on your location and target scale. In the US, a small operation producing enough insect to supply local pet food shops and restaurants could be set up for just a couple thousand dollars, whereas larger operations could be built at scales requiring tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Stay tuned as we will be posting more in depth on the economics of insect farming!